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VESOUL (Hebr. or ):

Capital of the department of Haute-Saône, France. Jews first settled there in the latter part of the thirteenth century, under the leadership of Ḥayyim b. Jacob, who was a correspondent of Ḥayyim b. Isaac Or Zarua', one of the first pupils of Meïr of Rothenburg. The synagogue was situated within the city walls, on a site now occupied by the Chapelle de la Charité, on the Place du Palais-de-Justice; after the expulsion of the Jews in 1321 it was sold for the benefit of the public treasury.

In 1315 Héliot, a banker of Vesoul, was one of the Jewish syndics of the Langue d'Oïl who, together with Poncin de Bar, Joce de Pontoise, Cressent de Corbeil, and Morel d'Amboise, negotiated for the return of the Jews expelled from France by Philipthe Fair. Three years later Countess Jeanne of Burgundy confiscated a house belonging to a Jew named Helget, and presented it to the prior and curé of Vesoul. In 1321 Philip V., the Tall, gave his wife, Queen Jeanne, the estate of Héliot and of his son Vivant as well as the property of other Jews of the county of Burgundy; and three years later Marguerite de Lambrez, one of the queen's ladies of the bedchamber, was allotted Héliot's house. In 1342 Michelet, a Jew of Vesoul, furnished the King of France with a subsidy of 187 livres.

In 1348 eighty Jews of Vesoul were arrested by order of Eudes IV., Duke of Burgundy, on the charge of well-poisoning. Renaud Joume de Chariez, provost of Vesoul, superintended the confiscation of their property, these seizures enriching the treasury to the amount of about 294 livres. Six of the prisoners were secretly put to the torture, and the twelve nobles appointed to pass judgment on them, in order to save them from the fury of the mob, sentenced them to banishment on the strength of confessions wrung from them in this manner. In 1360, however, Manecier or Menessier, a Jew of Vesoul, enjoyed the special favor of Charles V., whom he induced to permit the Jews to return to France. Twenty-four years later Philip the Bold authorized fifty-two Jewish families to settle in Burgundy, in consideration of the payment of an entrance-fee, and an annual tax to the treasury. They were, however, forbidden to loan money at a higher rate of interest than 4 deniers per livre, but their testimony was recognized in legal matters, even against Christians. Gui de la Trémouille, Sire de Joinville, a courtier, was appointed guardian of their rights and interests. From 1410 to 1419 Hacquin, a Jew of Vesoul, was physician to Duke John the Fearless.

At present (1905) there are twenty-five or thirty Jewish families in the city.

Bibliography:
  • Dom Plancher, Histoire de Bourgogne, iii.;
  • Gross, Gallia Judaica, pp. 190-191;
  • Gollut, Mémoires des Bourguignons de la Franche-Comté, p. 761;
  • R. E. J. vii. 1; viii. 161; ix. 21, 187; xlix. 1, 244;
  • Saige, Les Juifs de Languedoc, pp. 106, 330.
D. S. K.
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